The Lagos Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, sitting in Ikeja has dismissed a ‘no-case application’ filed by the Managing Director of Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, Dr Olufemi Olaleye, who is accused of defiling his wife’s 16-year-old niece.
Justice Rahman Oshodi dismissed the application for lack of merit and asked the defendant to open his defence.
Olaleye is facing a two counts of defilement and sexual assault by penetration of the minor between December 2019 and July 2022, when she came to live with their family.
At his arraignment by the Lagos State Government in November 2022, the doctor pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.
The state government had accused him of having unlawful sexual intercourse and sexually assault by penetrating her mouth with his penis. His offences contravened Sections 137 and 261 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
After calling six witnesses in proof of its case, the Director of Public Prosecution, Babajide Martins, informed the court that the prosecution was ready to close its case.
The defendant through his counsel, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), subsequently informed the court that the defence had filed a no-case submission.
However, while ruling on the application moved by another of his counsel, Mr. Olusegun Fabunmi (SAN), the court held that it was inclined to agree with the prosecution witnesses and their testimonies.
Justice Oshodi said, “I have carefully listened to the submissions of both prosecution and defence. In this case, six witnesses testified for the prosecution and various exhibits were tendered in evidence”.
“At this stage, I am not to decide whether the evidence presented is believed or not. I am not to decide the credibility or the way to attack the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses but what I am obligated to do at this stage is to decide whether something has been produced so far to prove this case worthwhile”.
“The learned SAN has pointed out some evidence he considered as discrepancies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses but I am afraid I am unable to give such an opinion regarding the discrepancies at this stage in a no case context”.
“I am inclined to agree with the prosecution, I do believe that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses namely PW1 to 6 and the exhibits tendered thus far has made it worthwhile to continue the trial.
“The no case submission is overruled and accordingly, the defendant is hereby called upon to open his defense.”
In the ‘no case submission’ dated February 21,2023, Fabunmi had argued that the prosecution had not provided sufficient evidence against the defendant to warrant him to enter defence. He also submitted that the evidence of the prosecution was not sufficient to convict the defendant.
According to the senior lawyer, there was no time the defendant was caught committing the alleged offences. The defendant even denied committing the offence. There was no prima facie case linking the defendant to the offence.
“In the first instance, the survivor did not state when the offence was committed, it was an after thought. We want the court to look at the testimony of PW6, stating that the victim did not produce the medical report at the time she alleged the offence was committed, the senior advocate said.
He urged the court to grant the application and to dismiss the case against the defendant.
In his response to the argument, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, submitted that the prosecution had called six witnesses including the survivor to testify in the case. He said the prosecution also tendered 21 exhibits to prove its case against the defendant.
He argued that there was no doubt about the identity of the defendant, as the survivor gave account of how she was asked to suck the defendant’s penis.
”The issue that PW2 does not know when the incident happens does not arise. The testimony of the under age girl (survivor) corroborated what the prosecution alleged the defendant of. The evidence of PW3 also corroborated.
”The law is settled, the probative value in accordance to section 24 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law. The defendant did not even say he did not live in that house. The girl was 15 years and not below 14 years as at that time.
”We have alleged defilement by penetration, tendered exhibits as well as documentary evidence. Even when the survivor was cross- examined by the learned silk, as to her being defiled during her menstrual circle, she responded that the defendant knows her menstrual time. The survivor said the defendant usually comes when children are asleep,” Martins submitted.
The DPP therefore urged the court to dismiss the defendant’s application and ask him to enter his defence.